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Stories of Love & Friendship Part. 2

I've always been fascinated with stories of Love and Friendship; how people meet, how they build a relationship and how they make that relationship last. Love is hope.

For a second year in a row, I decided to interview more couples and friends to learn more about what makes their love special.

Here are their stories:

Valéda & Hector

As told by Valeda & Hector

How long have you been together?

''We got married 53 years ago!''

How did you meet?

''We met in high school in our hometown of Noëlville, Ontario. We were acquaintances at the time and didn't know each other very well. I thought he was the most handsome boy in town with his beautiful wavy hair. He asked me out to the movie theatre to go see a film starring the actor Chubby Checkers. We have been together ever since.''

How did you know your partner was the one for you?

''He makes me happy! Since we grew up in the same village and our parents were friends, I knew he came from a family with similar values. When you get married, you're young and in love, but in a way you're just starting to get to know each other. I remember the night we went out to dinner with our two young sons to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary; I looked at Hector, at the husband and father he had become, and my heart was filled with love for him. I told him that in that moment I loved him even more than the day I married him!''

What makes your relationship work?

''We make sure to always communicate, to be kind to each other and to be friends first and foremost. Little gestures, whether it's a morning kiss or a hot cup of coffee, means so much over time. Making each other laugh is also key!''

Ann & Mitchell

As told by Ann and Mitchell

How long have you been together?

''We met 7 years ago and will be celebrating our 4th anniversary in March.''

How did you meet?

"Following my move from Quebec City to British Columbia, I met Mitchell who at the time was Michelle, at a little Pub. We became fast friends and enjoyed spending time together playing tic-tac-toe all night and singing at karaoke bars.

A couple of years later, Mitchell wanted to move to another part of Canada to see more of the country. I took a chance and asked him if he wanted to come here since I needed a roommate. Shortly after, our relationship changed. This is where our story really begins.

Our story is different from others because Mitchell was a women when we met. Since then, he has become a man and a father. We have been a couple in love all throughout his transition; we have our ups and downs but it's been incredible! "

How did you know your partner was the one for you?

''Ann is such a wonderful person. I like most that she kicks my butt into breaking through my own walls. She helps me build the bridges I need to cross in order to achieve the goals and dreams I've always had. She's such a great mother and a powerful women. I couldn't picture my life without her.'' -Mitchell

What makes your relationship work?

''We're a good team! It think it's great that we were friends before we were in a relationship. We work together and we make sure to communicate a lot. There is no perfect relationship but doing our best everyday is what matters. We now have a beautiful son!" - Ann

Kim, Cindy, Christine, Jo, Kathy, Brenda & Debbie

As told by Kim

How long have you been friends?

"We have been friends for most of our entire lives!''

How did you meet?

"Some of us are related. Others we met in elementary school!"

How did you know you would become such great friends?

"We always have had such a great time together and share just about everything about ourselves with each other.....that can only be with true friends."

What makes your friendship work?

"Our friendship works because we ALL make an effort to ensure we see each other on a regular basis (at least monthly). Some of us get together without the others and that’s ok too. We do have yearly weekend getaways as well which brings us closer, every time!"

Brenda & Francois

As told by Brenda

How long have you been together?

''12 years as of November 7th 2017!''

How did you meet?

"My husband and I met online in 2005 and although it was not a dating website, we chatted a lot over MSN Messenger. A lot, a lot. He was 19 and getting ready for Laval University in Quebec City and I was 20, the summer of my first year at York University in Toronto.

Since I didn't speak one word of French, he used a lot of Google Translate to chat with me in English! We always spoke like best friends even as we kept learning about one another. I decided to take a trip to Quebec City and meet the boy who I kept denying I had a huge crush on. I dragged my friend along and we stayed in his cramped residence room for 3 nights. Looking back, that was a quintessential teen thing to do to go see a guy that I never really met.

On the 2nd night we all had a few too many cheap drinks and I kissed him! That was November 7th 2005. We decided to try doing the long distance thing. Although the bus ride was 10 hours, we were always so excited to get on that bus. I spent Christmas time with him in his home town and met his entire extended family. They all had presents for me! I didn't understand any French so he played translator.

I decided that I wanted to learn French to speak with his mom. So every summer for the next 3 years, I spent my time enrolled in French classes at the University. I decided I would be a French Teacher. We both finished our degrees and picked Ottawa as our not-too-big, not-too-small city...and it's bilingual!

On the day of our 6th anniversary, he proposed. On the day of our 7th anniversary we got married. 2 years later we welcomed our first baby born in November. On our 10th anniversary I announced to him I was pregnant with our 2nd baby. We just celebrated our 12th year together on November 7th and are expecting a 3rd baby next spring! November 7th is a very very special day to us."

How did you know your partner was the one for you?

"He was kind, smart, quiet at first, hilarious, always calm (to balance my crazy) and he was the perfect snuggle partner!"

What makes your relationship work?

"We look out for each other. We make a great team. We fight fairly and we talk everything out. We both make an effort to check in on our relationship despite being busy parents of 2 toddlers. That has really helped us grow as a couple in our new role as parents."

Patricia & Patrick

As told by Patricia

How long have you been together?

"We've been together for 17 years."

What's your story?

"It’s not that extraordinary, nor is it unique. It’s simply a story of a girl meeting a boy. And somewhere down the crooked road called life, we met again and fell in love. Simple.

Patrick and I met in high school through mutual friends. Patrick was shy, reserved and funny, but for some reason he wasn’t my type (in high school, really?! Who really is?), but we got along. Then came graduation and like everyone in high school, friends take different paths and life goes on.

Years later, a mutual friend of ours was having a little get together for a “welcome back party” for Patrick since he had been away in France for college for several months. I told myself “why not” and decided to go. We spoke, had a good time and then it started to dawn on me, is this the same guy from high school? Fast forward, Patrick left again for France. Weeks after he came back, I was in a bad relationship that ended, then a friend of ours told him I was single and he jumped on the next plane.

17 years and 2 beautiful girls later we are still going strong!''

How did you know your partner was the one for you?

"I guess he just grew on me. ;) He will get on my nerves and sometimes we clash (Release the Kraken!! kind of clash), but he’s my rock, he keeps my head straight and without him I wouldn’t be the woman I am today."

What makes your relationship work?

"It just works! He is more strict and I’m more easy going. We are each other’s yin yang I guess."

Kathryn & Alex

As told by Kathryn

How long have you been together?

''We've been together almost 5 years!"

How did you meet?

''We met at a mutual friend's birthday party. We both showed up early and were in our own little world the entire night.''

How did you know your partner was the one for you?

''I felt very confident right away that Alex and I would definitely be in a relationship even though we were technically in different cities. He made me laugh so easily and I felt totally comfortable around him. It was pretty early in the relationship when I just knew he was my person. Actually, after our first date I confidently told my family that I was going to marry him. (We just got engaged over the holidays!).''

What makes your relationship work?

''Communication! We actually broke up for a few months after a year of dating due to a total communication break down. When we decided to start dating again we both knew we had to fix this issue. It was a lot of hard work and it drew on all of our emotions and trust, but now we have such a strong relationship because we know how to talk about things and how to listen.''

I hope you enjoyed reading these interviews. A big thank you to everyone that shared their stories and for allowing me glimpses into their relationships. It was such a pleasure to meet all of you.

Have a great time telling your stories!

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